September 27, 2010
Kansas Department of Agriculture
(785) 296-2653 phone
Kansas Ag Department awarded $1.1 million feed safety grant
TOPEKA -- Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Josh Svaty announced today that his department has been awarded a $1.1 million grant by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to make sure that livestock feed and pet foods are safe for the animals that eat them and humans who have contact with them.
“It’s a tremendous honor that Kansas is one of 12 states selected to receive this grant,” Svaty said. “It speaks very highly of our department and the quality of our grant proposal.”
The grant will allow the department to continue its cooperative agreement with FDA to enhance livestock feed safety by ensuring that the provisions of FDA’s ruminant feed ban are met. The ruminant feed ban is to protect cattle from the spread of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE.
“In Kansas, we have twice as many cattle as we do people, and we produce nearly 20 percent of the nation’s beef,” Svaty said. “The grant helps us protect consumers and our beef industry by making sure that feed produced here is safe.”
Kansas Department of Agriculture inspectors locate and visit firms involved in manufacturing, distributing or transporting animal feed or feeding livestock to verify that feed is free of ingredients banned by FDA.
Another feature of the grant is an expanded focus on mycotoxins in animal feed and pet food. Mycotoxins are chemical compounds produced by molds growing on grains. Although more than 300 mycotoxins are known, only a handful are considered significant. Mycotoxins can be harmful and even fatal to animals.
“Analyzing grain-based animal feed and pet foods for mycotoxins is an expansion of work we already do to ensure that they are safe for the animals consuming them,” Svaty said. “We’re already screening pet foods for aflatoxin, a type of mycotoxin, but this grant will allow us to broaden our scope.”
One reason this will be possible is that part of the grant will be used to pay for sophisticated laboratory instrumentation that can be used to identify and confirm whether compounds are present in feed and quantify to what extent.
“The instrumentation is a significant investment for this grant project, and it will make our work so much easier,” Svaty said. “Currently, we can only do a preliminary analysis to determine whether there are mycotoxins in animal feed or pet food, but we have to send samples to another lab for our findings to be confirmed. Now we will be able to do confirmatory testing and quantification on our own.”
To address the safety of direct human contact feeds that are intended for feeding animals in homes, pet stores, petting zoos and fairs, for one of the grant years the department will look for any that may be contaminated with salmonella.
“There have been reports in the last few years of humans contracting salmonella after touching animal food or pet treats, so we’re going to look at those products to get some baseline data and identify any trends,” Svaty said. “Based on what we find, we will repeat that part of the grant for another year or two.”
To educate pet owners about the risk of contracting salmonella from food and treats, the project includes preparing a brochure that can be distributed through veterinarian offices.
Another component of the grant will be to look for drug residue in animal feed from facilities that produce both medicated and nonmedicated feed. By analyzing samples from feed facilities that make both medicated and nonmedicated feed, the department will be able to confirm whether the cleanout that takes place between the two production cycles is adequate.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration awards grants to state and local regulatory agencies to boost food and feed safety initiatives among federal, state and local partners. The grants fund cooperative agreements in four primary areas: response, intervention, innovation and prevention.